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NCL 5.2.0 beta

Thanks for helping us test NCL 5.2.0-beta! We hope to release 5.2.0 in mid/late April. We are anxious for your feedback, both positive and negative.

This page contains information about what's in this version, how to tell which binary to download, how to install the software, how to run a quick test, and where to report problems.

Download the precompiled NCL binary from the new ESG

The NCL 5.2.0-beta binaries are being released on a new ESG system, which we plan to release for production use in the near future:

All user accounts from the old ESG site have been created on the new system, and this is updated hourly. If you have any problems using the system, please email "esg-support AT" and include "ESG Early Access" in your Subject line.

The ESG developers welcome feedback of any sort, so let them know what works, what doesn't, and any suggestions you might have for providing better service to you.

To get to the NCL beta software, click on the "NCL: NCAR Command Language" link near the bottom, then "NCL", and follow the links to "NCL Version 5.2.0-beta2 precompiled binaries".

We do not have source code at this time. If you need source, email us.

You will reach a table of NCL binaries for different systems, which are described below. (I hope to add the descriptions to the ESG page soon.)

Install the software on your system

The software installation instructions are the same as they are for previous versions. See detailed installation information.

Do not install this version over an existing version until you've tested it to your satisfaction. You may want to wait until we release V5.2.0 officially.

Test the software

To quickly test NCL, type:

ncl -V

It should report "5.2.0-beta2".

To test a graphical example, type:

ng4ex cn12n -clean

This should pop up an X11 window with some color contours over a map. Click on the window with your left mouse button to make the window go away.

If these simple examples work, then try your own scripts. If they don't, then please report the problem to us.


We strongly encourage your feedback, both negative and positive. If you want to give us feedback, email us and at a minimum, let us know what precompiled binary you downloaded and what comments you have.

We especially would like to know if you tried any of the new features, like the HDF-EOS5 reader, the PNG output driver, or any of the new functions.

If you have a problem, then see the next section.

Report problems

If you have a problem with installing or using NCL 5.2.0-beta, then email us with the following information:

  • What you were doing or typing that caused the problem. Include script and data if applicable or possible. See the Reporting bugs page for where you can upload scripts and data if they are too large to email to us.
  • What the exact error message was.
  • What NCL precompiled binary you downloaded (the file name).
  • What "uname -a" reports on your system.
  • If Linux/MacOS/Cygwin, what "gcc --version" reports on your system.

Description of available binaries

There are several binaries for Linux and MacOS systems. See these Linux or MacOS notes if you're not sure which binary to download.

Filename Description of precompiled binaries
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.Linux_i686_gcc412.tar.gz 32-bit Intel (i686) Linux system, compiled with gcc 4.1.2
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.Linux_i686_gcc432.tar.gz 32-bit Linux Intel (i686) system, compiled with gcc 4.3.2
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.Linux_Debian_x86_64_gcc412.tar.gz 64-bit Linux (Debian) Intel (x86_64) system, compiled with gcc 4.1.2
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.Linux_x86_64_gcc432.tar.gz 64-bit Linux Intel (x86_64) system, compiled with gcc 4.3.2
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.Linux_RedHat_x86_64_gcc412.tar.gz 64-bit Linux (RedHat) Intel (x86_64) system, compiled with gcc 4.1.2
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.Linux_ia64_gcc412.tar.gz 64-bit Linux Itanium (ia64) system, compiled with gcc 4.1.2
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.MacOS_10.4_i386_gcc401.tar.gz 32-bit MacOS 10.4 Intel (i386) system, compiled with gcc 4.0.1
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.MacOS_10.5_i386_gcc401.tar.gz 32-bit MacOS 10.5 Intel (i386) system, compiled with gcc 4.0.1
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.MacOS_10.5_ppc_gcc401.tar.gz 32-bit MacOS 10.5 Power Macintosh (PPC) system, compiled with gcc 4.0.1
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.MacOS_10.6_i386_64bit_gcc421.tar.gz 64-bit MacOS 10.6 Intel (i386 system, compiled with gcc 4.2.1
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.CYGWIN_NT-5.1_i686.tar.gz Windows/Cygwin system
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.AIX_5.3_pwr6_64bit.tar.gz AIX PWR6 system
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.AIX_5.3_com_64bit.tar.gz AIX generic architecture system, compiled with "qarch=com"
ncl_ncarg-5.2.0-beta2.SunOS_5.10.tar.gz Sun Solaris 10 system

Note about Linux binaries

If you are installing precompiled NCL binaries on a Linux system, there are a number of binaries to choose from. To know which ones to select, type the following to get the type of system you have, and the version of gcc:

  uname -m
  gcc --version
If these two commands report "i686" and "4.1.2", then you should download the Linux binary for an i686 system running gcc version 4.1.2. If you don't have exactly this version of gcc, then try the closest in version (for example, download the 4.1.2 binary if you have 4.1.1).

The LINUX binaries will be labeled on the ESG page as something like:


Another example: if the above two commands report "x86_64" and "4.4.0", then the closest binary is:


If these two commands report "ia64" and "4.2.2", then the closest match is:


Note about MacOSX binaries

If you're not sure what MacOS binary you need to download, type:

  sw_vers -productVersion
  uname -m

This will echo something like:


This would mean you need to download this binary:

Don't worry about the "gcc" version.

If it echoes:

  Power Macintosh



If you are running Snow Leopard on your Mac (MacOS 10.6), then we only have a 64-bit binary at this time: